Malaysia sees no terror link in radioactive item disappearance

Malaysian police have said the disappearance of an industrial item containing radioactive material more than a week ago appeared to have no link to terrorism.

“At this stage, there are no signs at all to link the loss of the [radioactive] device with any terrorist activity,” said Selangor police chief Mazlan Mansor in a statement on Tuesday. 

Authorities have been hunting for an industrial device containing radioactive material that is reported to have gone missing from a pick-up truck on August 10.

Two technicians reported the device missing while they were transporting it from the southern Negeri Sembilan state to their company’s office in Shah Alam outside Kuala Lumpur, police said in a statement.

Authorities fear the device, can cause radiation exposure or be used as a weapon, the New Straits Times daily said on Monday, citing unnamed sources.

Not the first time 

Police detained the two workers for a week to assist in the investigation but released them on bond as no evidence linked them to the device’s disappearance.

Local reports have said the two claimed they did not stop during the trip and feared the device fell off the truck.

Authorities are working with the Atomic Energy Licensing Board to find the device and track the culprits.

Police did not say what they believe was the reason for the device’s disappearance except to rule out terrorism.

However, while this event has created commotion among authorities, this is not the first time that such an incident takes place. 

“This incident is not the first and it is understood that it also happened last year,” Mohamad Fuzi, Inspector General of Police told reporters on Monday.  

Police said the 23kg device was supposed to be used in industrial radiography, and it contains 50 curies of radioactive iridium that can cause health problems depending on the level of exposure.

Local media said the device was reportedly used to detect cracks in metals in the energy, power and transportation sectors.

SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies

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